-Grubbing in ChicagoDominican at Armitage & Grand
Let's start 2018 out with an instant classic. Morena's Kitchen is a small little Dominican kitchen where owner Morena is cooking up the cuisine of her homeland. It's so small that it's address ends in .5 and there's probably a total of 6 places to sit. In my 5 or 6 trips in I notice much of the business is takeout and much of the clientele are Spanish speaking customers. It's one of a handful of Dominican restaurants around town and it's by far my favorite. The menu has all the classics. All homemade.
Locals Favorite in Belmont / Cragin
This is the type of spot where everything on the menu is legit. I had the weekend special oxtail before 2017 ended and I cant wait to go back and get that again. Sometimes certain things aren't available but just order your second choice and you'll be fine. The Dominican style carne guisada (stewed beef) is a wonderful batch of home cooked goodness. It's long strips of beef that are cooked until fall apart tender with all sorts of warm spicing used during the slow cook. The rice (you choose which type you like) gets all soaked up with the gravy from the guisada. It's a real stick to your ribs type meal.
Carne Guisada at Morena's Kitchen
But the #1 reason to make the schlep to the west end of Armitage is the Pica Pollo aka Dominican Fried Chicken. It is in my opinion the best fried chicken in the city at the moment. I judge this solely off cravings and I continue to get them for this fresh fried juicy well seasoned bird. You'll notice the regulars call their order in and they know this chicken isn't pre-made so expect to wait the time it takes her to dip it into the batter and then fry it to order. Typically it comes with fried plantains.
Pica Pollo (Dominican Fried Chicken) at Morena's Kitchen
There's a couple things that make this so good in my book. First is the seasoning job of the crust which leads into the second the frying job of the entire thing. The pieces are cut into smaller sized chunks but the meat remains as juicy as it gets for fried chicken. The seasoning is kind of like Popeye's turned up to ten. It's definitely got a subtle kick and tastes great with some lime squeezed lightly over the meat. Make sure to get both housemade hot sauces and use the fried plantains to make mini jibarito sandwiches. Morena's Kitchen is headed into my regular rotation this year.
Fried Chicken Up-Close
5054 1/2 W Armitage Ave B
Chicago, IL 60639